In the face of $4 per gallon gasoline and predictions the price will rise to $7 by the end of summer, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Lake Jackson) is calling on Congress to explore how the weakened value of the dollar may be contributing to the rise in oil prices. Paul, whose 14th Congressional District of Texas includes part of the Katy area and much of Cinco Ranch, said he wants Congress to hold hearings on the relationship between the falling value of the dollar and the recent rise of oil prices. As ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Paul sent a letter earlier this week to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services committee, asking for the hearings. "The price of oil is currently among the most pressing issues to American workers," Paul said. "Congress should be examining all factors contributing to the high cost of oil, and monetary policy is one of the key factors in the run-up in price." Paul's letter pointed out that the price of oil in dollars has risen 39 percent this year. Oil in Euros has only risen 30 percent, resulting in degraded purchasing power of the dollar of at least 80 cents of the increased price of a gallon of gas. "Neither the Federal Reserve nor the Treasury Department have been willing to take responsibility for the dollar's slide over the past several years, while American consumers have been forced to pay continually higher prices for gasoline, heating oil and numerous other imported products upon which Americans depend," Paul noted in his letter. "American consumers cannot afford to allow continued lax Congressional oversight of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department's duties as stewards of the dollar, especially since the dollar is a major factor in the skyrocketing price of oil." Besides himself, 16 other Members of Congress signed on to the letter, including ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services Spencer Bachus, and Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling.